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Curiosities of ancient Rome (Food)

The world of ancient Romans abounded in a number of amazing curiosities and information. The source of knowledge about the life of the Romans are mainly works left to us by ancient writers or discoveries. The Romans left behind a lot of strange information and facts that are sometimes hard to believe.

Roman mămăligă

One of the founding myths of the Romanian nation is its direct descent from those conquered by the Romans in the 1st century CE Dacians. To what extent is this true? An alternative theory is the origin of the Vlachs, the ancestors of the Romanians, from Romanian-speaking communities from the areas of today’s Albania, who fled from the Turkish threat to the north, to the Carpathians (participating in the ethnogenesis of our Boykos, Lemkos and Hutsuls) and to the Danube lowlands – let linguists and geneticists decide. The fact is that to this day, only in Romania can parents name their children Decebalus, Hadrian, Trajan or Ovid (the famous poet is buried in Constanta on the Black Sea).


Pears in Roman cuisine

Pears were known and used in ancient Rome. Pliny the Elder states that there were 41 known varieties of pear, each of which had a different taste, appearance and name. They were known, for example “Tiberian”, from the name of Emperor Tiberius, or “Falernian”, from the Falernum wine, known for its sweet taste.

Roman mosaic showing pears

Pork in Imperium Romanum

Pork is a very tasty meat – probably everyone who eats it will agree with this. Many of us probably cannot imagine that at least once a week there would be no pork chop or bacon for breakfast at least once a week.

Tombstone relief showing Roman butcher

Romans ate while reclining

Roman patricians ate in reclining positions, settling on sofas. The sofas encircled the main table on three sides, with food and drink delivered by slaves to individual guests. The name of the Roman dining room – triclinium – comes from three beds (Greek: treis kline).

A painting by Roberto Bompiani showing a Roman feast

Romans knew rice

Rice was known in ancient times. Ancient Rome imported the so-called rice seed (Oryza sativa) from India, as a luxury product to be added to food or used as a medicine.


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